WHAT WENT BEFORE: MARCOS SWISS DEPOSITS

The Singapore’s Court of Appeal, in its ruling released in January, recognized the right of Philippine National Bank (PNB) to hold in trust the $29 million seized from the estate of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. This ends a long saga over the Marcos Swiss deposits, held in the Singapore branch of German bank WestLB.
In July 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that $683 million in Marcos Swiss bank deposits was ill-gotten and ordered it forfeited in favor of the Philippine government. The family of Marcos appealed the decision and the funds remained in escrow with PNB until the high court ruled with finality.

ALSO: Philippines seizes more than US$29m from Marcos accounts

More money seized from former dictator’s secret overseas holdings, authorities announce, but vast amount still outstanding  Ferdinand Marcos salted away a vast fortune in foreign accounts, according to Philippine authorities. The Philippine government has recovered more than US$29m from the Swiss accounts of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the search for more of his hidden wealth continues 28 years after he was toppled, an official has said. The money, recovered over the last week, was part of the more than $712m from Marcos’s secret Swiss accounts now in government hands, said Andres Bautista, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency in charge of recovering Marcos’ allegedly ill-gotten wealth. The government won ownership of the funds after several years of litigation in Singapore courts over claims by victims of human rights violations under Marcos’s rule and private foundations representing the Marcoses, Bautista said at a news conference. Authorities had already recovered more than $4bn from an estimated $5-10bn amassed by the Marcoses during the dictator’s 20-year rule, he said. Bautista said last month that the government was targeting at least 50bn pesos ($1.1bn) more. “There is still a lot of work that can be done in respect to pursuing ill-gotten wealth,” he said on Wednesday.


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What Went Before: Marcos Swiss deposits


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/02/andres-bautista.jpg
Andres Bautista, head of the Philippine Commission on Good Government, which is tasked to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, speaks in a news conference in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. The Philippine government has recovered the remaining $29 million of the multimillion-dollar Swiss bank deposits stashed away by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. AP PHOTO/BULLIT MARQUEZ

MANILA, FEBRUARY 17, 2014 (INQUIRER) The Singapore’s Court of Appeal, in its ruling released in January, recognized the right of Philippine National Bank (PNB) to hold in trust the $29 million seized from the estate of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

This ends a long saga over the Marcos Swiss deposits, held in the Singapore branch of German bank WestLB.

In July 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that $683 million in Marcos Swiss bank deposits was ill-gotten and ordered it forfeited in favor of the Philippine government. The family of Marcos appealed the decision and the funds remained in escrow with PNB until the high court ruled with finality.

Two months later, however, Hawaii District Court Judge Manuel Real issued a ruling stopping the transfer of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth to the Philippines as ruled by the Supreme Court and threatened banks that did so.

The order is a result of a 1990s ruling by the US court awarding nearly $2 billion in damages against the Marcos estate to victims of the Marcos regime.

In compliance with the US court ruling, WestLB refused to release the funds until a Singapore court makes a ruling on how it should be disposed.

In 2004, WestLB went to court to determine the owner of the money after several groups staked claims, including the Philippine government, a group of human rights victims and five foundations believed to be Marcos fronts.

In 2006, a Singapore court denied the government’s claim on the Marcos funds. The government appealed the case.

In August 2012, Singapore’s High Court dismissed rival claims and ruled that Marcos deposits in WestLB rightfully belonged to PNB.

In its latest ruling, the Singapore court affirmed the high court’s August 2012 decision. The court explained that it was compelled to reject the rights victims’ claims as the relevant documents did not have the legal effect of transferring any “proprietary interest” in the funds to them.

But the court made clear that the rejection would “not in any way deny the moral claims of the human rights victims and acknowledges that the human rights victims deserve redress for the grievous wrongs that they suffered.”

The court also rejected the claim of the Swiss-based foundations, saying that their entitlement was lost following the Swiss Federal Supreme Court orders effecting the transfers.

Swiss authorities transferred $658 million to PNB in 2002 for safekeeping. PNB then placed the money in various banks in Singapore, including the branch of WestLB, and in Britain.

Andres Bautista, chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), said the government could use the funds to compensate the rights victims.

He said that when the Swiss government agreed to repatriate the Swiss money, “it was on the condition that the human rights victims are compensated.”

The PCGG, in behalf of the Philippine government, has been battling with the claimants over millions of dollars of Marcos money believed to have been plundered through the years, saying it belonged to the government’s coffers.

“While the original CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) Law stated that part of its funding will be sourced from PCGG recoveries, the subsequent Human Rights Compensation Law also appropriated P10 billion,” said Bautista.

President Aquino signed into law the Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 on Feb. 25 last year, but its implementing rules and regulations cannot be formulated without a claims board.

The President has yet to appoint the chair and eight members of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board.—Inquirer Research Source: Inquirer archives, The Straits Times
 
FROM THE GUARDIAN.COM

Philippines seizes more than US$29m from Marcos accounts Associated Press in Manila theguardian.com, Wednesday 12 February 2014 07.07 GMT


Ferdinand Marcos salted away a vast fortune in foreign accounts, according to Philippine authorities. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

MANILA -More money seized from former dictator’s secret overseas holdings, authorities announce, but vast amount still outstanding 

Ferdinand Marcos salted away a vast fortune in foreign accounts, according to Philippine authorities.

The Philippine government has recovered more than US$29m from the Swiss accounts of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the search for more of his hidden wealth continues 28 years after he was toppled, an official has said.

The money, recovered over the last week, was part of the more than $712m from Marcos’s secret Swiss accounts now in government hands, said Andres Bautista, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency in charge of recovering Marcos’ allegedly ill-gotten wealth.

The government won ownership of the funds after several years of litigation in Singapore courts over claims by victims of human rights violations under Marcos’s rule and private foundations representing the Marcoses, Bautista said at a news conference.

Authorities had already recovered more than $4bn from an estimated $5-10bn amassed by the Marcoses during the dictator’s 20-year rule, he said.

Bautista said last month that the government was targeting at least 50bn pesos ($1.1bn) more.

“There is still a lot of work that can be done in respect to pursuing ill-gotten wealth,” he said on Wednesday.

“We should not allow ill-gotten wealth, the taking of ill-gotten wealth, to go unpunished.”

The Philippines’ supreme court ruled in 2003 that the Marcoses wealth in excess of their total legal income of around $304,000 from 1965 to 1986 was presumed to be ill-gotten.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 without admitting any wrongdoing during his presidency.

Bautista said the government had filed more than 200 civil cases for recovery and forfeiture of ill-gotten assets, including real estate, amounting to about 30-40bn pesos ($667-$890m) from the Marcos family, their cronies and associates.

It is seeking more than 150 paintings of “prominent masters and artists” collected by the Marcos family that went missing after the Marcoses fled the presidential palace during the February 1986 “people power” uprising.

Bautista declined to comment when asked whether he believes Marcos’s widow, Imelda, and their three children were still living off their hidden wealth.

Imelda Marcos is a member of the house of representatives. Her eldest child, daughter Imee, is governor of their northern home province of Ilocos Norte, while her son, Ferdinand Jr, is a senator. Her other daughter, Irene, remains low key and has kept away from politics.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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